Europe is a great tourist destination for all types of people, especially art lovers. There is a variety of places to visit, and if we’re talking about museums, Europe has a lot to offer.
If you are the type of person who enjoys art, from the one showing the history of our ancestors to contemporary art, there are many “must see” art museums around Europe and to help you chose wisely, here is a list of the top 10.
1. Tate Modern
Located in London, Tate Modern is a modern art gallery formed in 2000. It’s the most visited modern art gallery in the world with around 4.7 million visitors per year. Tate holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art including masterpieces by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol, as well as contemporary work by artists such as the contemporary Irish sculptor Dorothy Cross.
2. The Pompidou Centre
The Centre Georges Pompidou commonly shortened to Centre Pompidou, is a French museum located in Paris and it holds the status “largest museum for modern art in Europe”. The Centre is named after Georges Pompidou, the President of France from 1969 to 1974 who commissioned the building, and was officially opened on 31 January 1977. It’s celebrated for its frank industrial aesthetic marked by its unique free-spanning architecture. The centre receives around 6 million visitors per year, and remains one of the most iconic architectural achievements of the 20th century, for having revolutionized the old-fashioned design of the typical elitist art museum.
3. Museo Del Prado
Set in a fascinating neoclassical building on one of Madrid’s most elegant boulevards, the Prado is a regal home to renowned Spanish masterpieces. Much of the collection dates back to the museum’s inauguration in 1819. The museum has the world’s finest collection of Spanish paintings, by Spanish Baroque artists such as Velazquez, El Greco, Jusepe Ribera, and also Francisco Goya, as well as masterpieces from other schools of European art from the 12th century to the early 19th century, such as Florentine and Venetian Renaissance art.
4. The National Gallery
The National Gallery in London, one of the world’s best art museums, is located in Trafalgar Square and contains over 2,300 Western European paintings in it’s permanent collection. Among the famous art pieces is the famous “Virgin on the rocks” by Leonardo da Vinci and paintings from Botticelli and Caravaggio as well. The entrance to the gallery is free, although visitors have to pay to view certain temporary art shows.
5. The Serralves Museum
This is a wonderful place for art lovers and people with good taste. The museum itself features modern art and there are gardens with a reflecting pond, eternity pools, and a lake. The Serralves Museum is located in Porto, Portugal and it’s an example of contemporary architecture, Modernism, and Art Decor architecture. The Museuum was designed by Alvaro Siza Vieira and it’s now the most visited museum in Portugal with more than 300.000 visitors per year. It’s also and one of the most relevant museums in the contemporary art circuit in Europe.
6. The Gemaldegalerie
Gemaldegalerie, or German for “Picture Gallery” is an art museum in Berlin, possessing one of the top collections of European paintings from the 13th to 18th centuries. The Gemäldegalerie first opened in 1830 as part of the Royal Museum. Much of the building and more than 400 large paintings were destroyed during World War 2. On display are some of Europe’s finest masterpieces, which represent every important period spanning five centuries. Sixteen paintings by Rembrandt are displayed separately in an octagonal room as well.
7. The Louvre
This is by far the most famous and most visited museum not just in Europe, but in the world. The Louvre is located in Paris, France and has one of the greatest pieces of art in the world including the Mona Lisa by Da Vinci, and the Greek statue Venus De Milano. Situated on the Right Bank of the River Seine in Paris, the museum is housed in the Louvre Palace and in 1989, as part of a series of renovations to the museum, a new entrance was designed in the central courtyard which incorporated the famous glass Louvre Pyramid – now an independent architectural highlight of the complex. Visitors to the Louvre now number 9 million per year, making it the most popular art museum in the world.
8. Galleria Degli Uffizi
On the list of the most famous and oldest art museums in the world is the Uffizi Gallery, built in 1581 and located in Florence, Italy. The cortile (internal courtyard) is so long and narrow, that architectural historians treat it as the first regularized streetscape of Europe. Because of its huge collection, some of its works have in the past been transferred to other museums in Florence, for example, some famous statues to the Bargello. Today, the Uffizi is one of the most popular tourist attraction of Florence. In high season, particularly in July, waiting times can be up to five hours.
9. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
By the name I’m sure you can guess the location of this museum of fine arts. If you’re visiting Eastern Europe, you might as well check out The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow,Russia. It has some of the most valuable artworks dating from antiquity to the early 20th century. It also has a big European collection of paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, decorative and applied art dating from the 16th century. The main Pushkin building was constructed between 1898 and 1912 on a site previously occupied by a prison.
10. Van Gogh Museum
Dedicated on to the work of the 19th-century Dutch expressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh, this museum is located in Amsterdam and can be considered as one of the top 10 locations for art lovers in Europe. With almost 1.6 million visitors per year, the museum is one of the most famous ones in Europe and the World. The Van Gogh Museum possesses the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings in the whole world. It’s a total of 200 paintings, 400 drawings, and 700 letters by the artist, chronicling the various phases of Van Gogh’s artistic life.